Identity And Self Identity In Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man

1087 Words 5 Pages
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a novel that explores the black consciousness of an unnamed narrator and how he is perceived by himself and those around him. Set in the late 1920’s, Invisible Man shows the narrator 's journey in growing up in racism and oppression, and his inability to be recognized until after the brotherhood rejects him and he begins to see himself. The reader sees how ignored the feelings of the blacks were at this time, and is made aware of the idea of self perception and how the morals of society have an influence on him. Ellison uses this to show the narrator 's journey towards self identity. According to Ralph Ellison in the Paris Review Interview, “the narrator’s development is one through blackness to light; that …show more content…
They chose not to see him and instead, they see the color of his skin. The narrator is unseen by society simply because of his race, and he is aware of the fact that others have chosen not to acknowledge him. He states that blackness is invisibility and that "it 's enough to make you doubt if you really exist," (Invisible Man 3-4). According to Langston Hughes, “the word white come to be unconsciously a symbol of all the virtues” (The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain). The narrator in Invisible Man is representative of black individuals as a whole. During this time period especially, treatment towards black individuals was extremely prejudice. This is evident in many situations in the novel such as the many men paying to see black men fighting one another (18) and being told that he doesn’t exist by Mr. Norton (143). The narrator is constantly being reminded of what his skin color is, and is treated in such a way that leaves him feeling inferior towards the white people in …show more content…
Emerson in order to avoid being unnoticed shows his “willingness to trust his own experience, his own sensibilities as to the definition of reality, rather than allow his masters to define these crucial matters for him” (Ellison, The Paris Interview). He is realising that in order to be successful, he must put himself out there and write the letter to Mr. Emerson, rather than let the secretaries do so. This is showing growth in the sense that he is slowly breaking away from invisibility. Invisible Man by Ralph Emerson is a novel that depicts how a prejudiced society can contribute to black consciousness and lead to invisibility and isolation. The Paris Review interview with Ralph Ellison and “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” from Langston Hughes show how this can be overcome through self acknowledgement, rather than the acknowledgement from

Related Documents